- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the lead prosecutor in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, said there’s no evidence that race played a factor in the killing of George Floyd, despite his death sparking nationwide racial unrest last May.

During an appearance Sunday night on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Mr. Ellison said the former Minneapolis police officer’s killing of Floyd, a Black man, did not amount to a hate crime.

“I wouldn’t call it that because hate crimes are crimes where there’s an explicit motive and of bias,” the former congressman said. “We don’t have any evidence that Derek Chauvin factored in George Floyd‘s race as he did what he did.”

CBS host Scott Pelley pressed Mr. Ellison, asking why he did not charge Chauvin with a hate crime under Minnesota law.

“Could have,” Mr. Ellison responded. “But we only charge those crimes that we had evidence that we could put in front of a jury to prove. If we’d had a witness that told us that Derek Chauvin made a racial reference, we might have charged him with a hate crime. But I would have needed a witness to say that on the stand. We didn’t have it. So we didn’t do it.”

Mr. Pelley pressed further: “The whole world sees this as a White officer killing a Black man because he is Black. And you’re telling me that there’s no evidence to support that?”

Mr. Ellison said it’s not necessary to prove Chauvin is a racist to show that “there is a social norm” in U.S. society that “killing certain kinds of people is more tolerable than other kinds of people.” 

“In order for us to stop and pay serious attention to this case and be outraged by it, it’s not necessary that Derek Chauvin had a specific racial intent to harm George Floyd,” he argued. “The fact is we know that, through housing patterns, through employment, through wealth, through a whole range of other things — so often, people of color, Black people, end up with harsh treatment from law enforcement. And other folks doing the exact same thing just don’t.

“If an officer doesn’t throw a White neurologist in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to the ground and doesn’t sit on top of his neck, is he doing it because this is a fellow White brother? No,” he continued. “He’s doing it because he thinks, ‘This is an important person and if I treat them badly somebody’s going to ask me about this. This person probably has lawyers. He probably knows the governor. He probably knows — he has connections. I can look at the way he’s dressed and the way he talks, that he’s probably, quote, unquote, ‘somebody.’ And so that’s really what it’s about.”

A Minnesota jury last week convicted Chauvin on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in Floyd‘s death, carrying a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. Judge Peter Cahill is slated to determine the sentence in Hennepin County Court on June 16.

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